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Police and Neighbors Come Together for National Night Out

National Night Out is celebrated in communities throughout the country every August, and more than 50 kids and 100 adults participated at Elk Ridge Park in the City of Castle Pines last month. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was on hand with its hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) team, patrol deputies, bike officers, the Specialized Operations Response Team, a horse and a K-9.

National Night Out (NNO) was held August 3, and representatives from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) met with neighbors at Elk Ridge Park in the City of Castle Pines.

More than 50 kids attended and DCSO sent the HAZMAT team, patrol deputies, bike officers, the Specialized Operations Response Team, a horse and a K-9.

Kirsty O’Brien and her daughters Charlotte (9) and Allie (6) attended and learned about safety and the role of the sheriff’s office in the community. The girls donned full HAZMAT suits and body protection gear.

“It’s nice for kids to get to know who they should look to for help,” said O’Brien. “They were so friendly and my girls loved trying on the outfits and eating Popsicles with the police.”

NNO is generally held the first Tuesday in August in most states around the nation in an effort to bring communities and law enforcement together in a symbiotic way. Many neighborhoods host festivals, block parties, parades with safety demonstrations and exhibits.

This year, DCSO held the event on Wednesday and hosted five events around the county with more than 2,000 kids in attendance.

Allie (6) and Charlotte (9) learn about the DCSO K-9 unit while attending NNO at Elk Ridge Park.

“National Night Out is such a great community event and provides a chance for our staff to get to know the citizens in a fun way,” said Cocha Heyden, the public information officer for DCSO. “The show of support from the Douglas County community always humbles us, and this event is one way we can give back to them.”

NNO began, as most things do, with a person who saw a need and wanted to do something more in his community. In the early 1970s, Matt Peskin was involved in his neighborhood watch, riding with patrolmen and producing a safety newsletter in his community in suburban Philadelphia.

Peskin saw a need for a more comprehensive neighborhood watch, and he established the National Association of Town Watch in 1981. When momentum continued, he ultimately launched National Night Out in August 1984. More than two million people across 400 communities in 23 states participated the first year. Today, NNO draws 38 million people in 16,000 communities.

“NNO provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances,” according to the NNO website. The goal is to make neighborhoods safer. For more information, visit

A young “sheriff in training” joins DCSO deputies assigned to the detentions division Special Operations Response Team (SORT) for National Night Out at Elk Ridge Park last month.

By Hollen Wheeler; photos courtesy of Kirsty O’Brien and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office




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